Monday, November 11, 2013

Remembrance Day 2013 - Eleanor Shepherd

Remembrance Day has always been an uncomfortable occasion for me. It is not that I do not value those who have been willing to give their lives for values that they believed in and that I believe in.  In part, my discomfort stems from my choice to be a convinced pacifist.  The whole idea of war and combat of any kind, I find abhorrent. Yet I know that others are convinced there are times when there is no other alternative but armed conflict.  I am not in agreement with them and my strongest argument I believe is the Cross of Christ.  Instead of surrendering to death by crucifixion, He had the option of calling all of the armies of heaven to His defense and chose not to do so.  Instead, He willingly surrounded His life, with the words, Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.
            Despite my convictions, I was not around when the First and Second World Wars began, those conflicts that we usually remember on November 11th.  I do not know ways they could have been avoided.  It appeared a few years ago that the concept of Remembrance Day was dying out.  Then things changed with the coming of the war in Afghanistan. Once again, heroes received honours for their combat with the forces that might deny others of their rights.  The perpetual turning to arms, generation after generation does remind me that the Bible is true when it says that our hearts will constantly pursue evil.

            In addition, I have observed in people what we now call Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  I saw this in relatives who survived the Second World War and observed it in friends who survived Afghanistan.  My husband, Glen understands something of this firsthand from his visits to Afghanistan, where he discovered that waiting around the next corner might be a suicide bomber. Although Glen goes there to supervise the distribution of Canadian medicines that will improve the lives of Afghan mothers and children, he is still vulnerable to acts of war.
            How might I find a way to resolve this internal conflict I have about war and remembrance?  It is not likely that wars are going to cease.  It is equally unlikely that I will be able to convince many people to become pacifists.  The choice that remains for me is to do what I am required to do when I find less than ideal situations in other areas of life.  I need to honour people for their faithfulness to their convictions.  I need to be clear and respectful in sharing my own convictions and I need to pray for the day when peace will come on earth.  That is how I plan to spend my two minutes of silence on this Remembrance Day.  What about you?

Word Guild Award
Word Guild Award


Peter Black said...

Thank you for your sensitivity and candour, Eleanor.

My father-in-law was a sergeant in WWII and served overseas, returning uninjured, although many of his comrades perished; likewise with my paternal grandfather (a corporal), who served in Europe in WWI.
My dad, however, became a committed Christian believer in 1938 and when WWII was declared he conscientiously objected on principle, expressing his willingness to serve in medics and non-combatant duties (he knew he'd fail the medical anyway, which he did). I'm not certain that I would have done the same. I narrowly missed the UK conscription. Thanks also for sharing about Glen's significant and potentially dangerous role in Afghanistan.
Oh, nearly forgot: I was honoured to lead a well-attended Remembrance service and observance in a retirement residence, yesterday. ~~+~~

Ian McKenzie said...

One other factor for me, those who make the decision to send soliers into battle rarely suffer the dangers and consequences of the conflict.

Peter Black said...

So very true, Ian!

BTW: My, yours is such a great Scottish name. I'm sure you wear it well. :)

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